Wednesday, 15 December 2010

No, I'm not.

I have a particularly close relationship with the children I nanny for, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I volunteer in their classrooms, attend their performances, share their joy in their accomplishments, and laugh myself silly when I discover that they're saying something with the same inflection I do. I am their nanny, and I don't think there could be a job that is more fun or rewarding.

Sometimes, people (generally my age) will make comments about me being a "second mom." I always vehemently deny these. I am not, in any way, shape, or form, a mother. I think it's really weird when families get their nannies Mother's Day gifts. Sometimes, families work out where kids have more than one mother-- lesbian parents and step-mothers, for example. BUT-- nannying is not one of those situations.

I'm having a hard time getting to my point. Good news, though-- here it is!

What does it say about our society that an involved, loving woman is so frequently said to be "like a mother"? It makes it seem like we perceive ourselves in isolated little family unites, unwelcoming to others, neither giving or taking love and support from those around us. I don't like to think that's how things really are. Just because we don't have a word to specifically identify the relationship I have with the children (because "nanny" will always imply pay and while, yes, I am paid, if I could afford to do this job for free I totally would) does NOT mean that the next most logical thing to do is to compare it to motherhood. I've not been a mother, so I guess I can't be sure, but I'm willing to bet that it is very, very different.

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